Considering a PS90


June 30, 2012, 12:38 AM

At my friendly local gun shop this week, the gentleperson behind the counter showed me a (black of course) PS90 with the factory sight installed. Seemed light and interesting and like it could be a fun addition to the safe, so I'm doing some research on it, and thought I'd solicit the opinions of folks on here.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm still learning and it helps to hear from those who know more than I do.

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June 30, 2012, 09:30 AM
There's been a couple of heated threads on PS90/FN FiveSeven over the years on here. You'll no doubt get some varied opinions on the subject. :)

Mine isn't a safe queen. I keep it next to my bed as the go-to piece.

June 30, 2012, 10:20 AM
Have a bit more time, wanted to follow up on why I have a PS90 next to my bed, instead of something else. (I'm an avid collector and have a pretty wide selection...)

It's lightweight, and holds 50 rounds. Even fully loaded you don't really feel the weight.

Penetration out of the PS90 with off the shelf commercial loads is greater than the 12" "minimum" that most people set the bar at.

Optics (second gen) are pretty remarkable. The lower part of the cross hair glows red in low-light conditions via ambient light (no batteries to forget to change). Do NOT get a first gen setup, that original white donut reticle is next to worthless.

Penetration. Or lack thereof. I wanted something that will penetrate *enough* but not *too much* since I have 8 people and 6 pets in my household. I don't want to incapacitate a bad guy, only to find my dog or child dead or dying from a ricochet or through & through. The little 40 grain projectiles have light jackets, and come apart fast when they hit something; explosively fragmenting on soft tissue, and effectively disintegrating on anything harder.

Accurate enough to shoot to 150-200 yards, shouldn't have any problem hitting what I aim at 10-20 feet away...

There's virtually no recoil, so you can ht what you point at - literally - as fast as you can pull the trigger. At 25 yards I can put all 50 rounds in a 6" circle at a rate of about 3-4 rounds per second.

If my situation were different (I lived alone), I would keep something harder hitting at the ready. Best weapon, by far, for home defense is a 12 gauge with 00 buck. But even those penetrate way too much for my tastes, in a crowded house.

June 30, 2012, 11:39 AM
If you do get one, be sure to SBR it so it lives up to it's full (well, minus FA :() potential. Also, come to grips now with the fact that you'll eventually buy a Five-seveN to go with it :D


June 30, 2012, 11:42 AM
FiveSeven is a great little piece too. :)

June 30, 2012, 06:01 PM
Trent - that seems like to much hardware to unleash with 6 people living in the house!

July 1, 2012, 06:34 AM
Nah. You can never have too much hardware.

July 1, 2012, 07:49 AM
I have one with the original optics. Got it when it first came out. Ergonomics are a little cramped for me. The optics are awful but if they have updated them they may be better. It's light and easy to carry. I rarely shoot mine mostly because I don't like the optics.

As for the round itself I personally have faith in it. My wife uses the FN57 as her bedside gun and I trust it will do the job.

I think the PS90 is something you either love or hate. By all means get one and try it out. If you can take one to the range a few times you'll know pretty quickly wether you like it or not.

July 1, 2012, 08:02 AM
The original optics (white donut of death)... suck.

The second gen optics are great. FN had a buy-back program for awhile, dunno if it's still going. But they offered the 2nd gen optics to all owners for a discount (have to send in the original optics).

One thing I love about the PS90, it'll break down and fit in to a backpack. Which makes it great to take along on motorcycle trips. Do get some strange looks, though, when I roll up to the range on a sport bike and pull a PS90 out of the backpack with 6 full magazines, a roll of targets, and a stapler. :)

July 1, 2012, 08:07 AM
If you have an AR you might want to check out the ar57 upper. It uses p90 magazines and ejects out the mag well.

July 1, 2012, 08:17 AM
SBR it if you get it. It looks freaking goofy with that giant pencil of a barrel it comes with.

July 1, 2012, 10:22 AM
How do you reload for the thing?.

The thing is a blowback and requires case lubrication to function. The case is coated with a polymer, probably a telfon mix, so how do you get that back on after resizing?

July 1, 2012, 11:10 AM
You don't. (re apply the dry lube; the trick is not stripping it off in the first place!)

You use a chemical cleaner (ultrasonic, preferably). Don't tumble them!

They're nitpicky little bastards to reload, too. Total factory blackout on loads. Compounding the fact is some early dies were incorrectly made (didn't have the right taper), making it impossible to get a full mag of reloaded rounds.

Check reloading section, they've got the whole process covered pretty well.

Sam Cade
July 1, 2012, 12:30 PM
Penetration out of the PS90 with off the shelf commercial loads is greater than the 12" "minimum" that most people set the bar at.

What loads are those?

The deepest penetrating load was about 10.0" into bare gel when brassfetcher did their tests.

July 1, 2012, 12:51 PM
I've got an early PS90 and an AR-57 ... I don't remember the last time I shot either of them, even though I still have about 1K put back for them. The PS90 has the typical horrible bullpup trigger and although I can reload for it, it's a pain ... since all other ammo has gotten more expensive the price of the ammo for it is a bit easier to take. The AR-57 dings the mouth of the case on ejection.

If I had to pick a word to describe them, it would be vanilla.

July 1, 2012, 01:03 PM
I think the PS90 is something you either love or hate.

Jaffa hate the... geez, I'm such a geek.

I've always wanted a P90 (or more realistically, a PS90) and it's been on the "short list" for some time, but some other firearm or hobby-related thing always seem to cut in line.

July 1, 2012, 05:55 PM
The deepest penetrating load was about 10.0" into bare gel when brassfetcher did their tests.

Let's not start this again, we we're talking about the gun here, remember...:rolleyes:

Kimber's quote about the gun being "vanilla" is in line from what I've heard; the PS90 is boringly reliable, accurate, and consistent (eerily similar to what I hear about the CX4 carbines, come to think of it). I think a lot of the bad-mouthing comes from people who saw one at a show, and picked it up expecting it to be a super-cool deathray in the 40W range :D. Instead, it was "just another gun." I think if it looked more like a mini-14 or AR, folks' expectations would be in line with what the platform actually delivers (interestingly, there doesn't seem to be as much contention over "how good" the AR57 is; aside from the round it shoots, the product's reception seems very positive).

Personally, I found the ergos a bit clunky (thick), but so was the FS2000, so maybe that's what's desired in bullpups. The wide body does let you "cradle" it a bit more securely than a thinner frame would. I think a large chunk of the market will never buy into the bullpup configuration, though. For semi-auto range fun, I prefer my FN57, simply because it's even handier than the PS90 (being a pistol, and all :)). Now, I might be dissuaded if we were able to get fully-enabled P90's...I'm pretty sure the SBR, FA features are what kick the PS90 up to 11, and make it something truly unique among firearms.

On a related note, has anyone ever made/tested a full-auto Five-seveN pistol? Seems like it'd give the G18 a heck of a run for its money...


July 1, 2012, 06:39 PM
What loads are those?

The deepest penetrating load was about 10.0" into bare gel when brassfetcher did their tests.

Try Houston Police department. SS190. 11-13" of penetration during calibrated testing.

(They also list anecdotal evidence obtained from an actual shooting)

While SS190 isn't readily available to mere mortals, you can get superior performance and penetration to SS190 out of various third party production rounds and handloads (e.g., NOT from FN). There's ammo out there that will penetrate ~14" for sale.

As for MY needs, LESS penetration is better (I have 8 people in my household, several pets, as mentioned above..).

SHOT placement is what I want. That rifle is PLENTY accurate for my needs. 50 rounds? That's a bonus.

As far as the accuracy of the little brother FiveSeven pistol, line up tin cans at 100 yards and give me a bean bag. I'll knock them all down for you right quick.

July 1, 2012, 08:25 PM
The sights I saw on this one were, I think, 2nd gen.. "T" style, not ring. Would like to hear more about how they perform in general.

July 1, 2012, 09:58 PM
T style is what you want, not the ring. (Or.. a tri-rail if you want to add your own optics.)

Can you give a little more info in what you're looking for?

What kind of "performance" information are you looking for? Terminal? Accuracy? Handling?

What application you looking for? Target shooting/Plinking? Defense? Critter control?

Hard to answer with specifics unless you kind of have an intended purpose in mind. :)

Even then, there's a lot of variables. E.g. if you're thinking about defense, your environment comes in to heavy play. Live in an apartment/condo? Got nearby neighbors? Have a lot of pets or people in your house? If the answer is yes to any of those, it's a pretty good option due to the lower penetration. (e.g. you don't want to grab a full power 7.62x51 rifle if you're in an apartment building or have neighboring houses as potential backstops.)

Same applies to critter control, effective accurate range with the built in optics is about 150 yards. Any further out and I'm not confident of a kill zone shot. So if you have quite a spread, e.g. coyotes at 400+ yards, not a viable tool for the job.

It's great for plinking, you'll run out of targets long before you'll run out of ammo! I particularly like putting up a case of clay pigeons on the hillside 75-100 yards out, and making a day of it.

Target shooting is a bit boring with it, I prefer longer ranges with bolt guns, but everyone's tastes are different.

One of the BEST purposes I've had for this rifle is to introduce NEW shooters to the sport. It has NO recoil and is simple enough to be operated safely by kids. You can also teach people how to break it down in about 2 seconds flat, so they can enjoy looking at the inner workings.

I've shot close to 10,000 rounds out of my PS90 and never had ONE jam or malfunction. SUPER reliable weapon - one of the other reasons I keep it next to the bed here at home. Also, if you get the brass catcher, it keeps your brass policed, even in nasty high-weed brass-eating areas (like out by my lake; probably lost several thousand 9mm and 45 cases out there by now).

The kid thing; not joking about it. Half of my son's high school class (we're rural, so that's like 20 kids lol) has learned to shoot in my back yard on these.

July 2, 2012, 12:08 AM
I was actually referring to the performance of the sight. Does it work well in bright light, low light, regular light, etc..

But the other points you raise are all excellent. This would be a plinking/home defense use most likely.

July 3, 2012, 11:47 AM

The 2nd gen sight works great in every condition I've ever shot them in, although, I will say I haven't tested it much below freezing. (Tend to shoot only my bolt guns in the winter time).

When available ambient light drops the lower portion of the reticle (the "T" if you will) gradually turns from black to bright red. It's quite remarkable how they pulled it off. By far, the best non-battery powered low light sights I've ever seen. I've got EOTech 552's on a couple other guns, but never saw the need to upgrade the PS90 sights.

Even in a dark room with all the lights off, they catch enough ambient light to illuminate the red reticle. Even on a dark cloudy night in the country I can still make it out easily. It would have to be absolutely pitch black to not have a sight picture, and if that happens, you aren't seeing your target anyway....

July 3, 2012, 12:46 PM
You can find a bunch of helpful info here, too:

July 3, 2012, 01:14 PM
I personally want one. I will buy one in the next year or two. I love the round, and the design is just cool looking in my opinion. This will be the one for me to get a SBR tax stamp for too...

July 3, 2012, 01:24 PM
Cjohnson, they put a hell of a lot of effort in to that design. Looks were completely secondary (it's not REALLY that attractive).

But -

Everything has rounded corners to prevent "snags"

Stock has a compartment for your cleaning supplies

Magazine is placed so you can see how much ammo you have left, even with the rifle shouldered

Everything is ambidextrous, casings drop down to avoid entering your field of vision..

It's designed (in true SBR form) to be less long than a man's shoulders are wide, to make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces (anyone ever hunted in thick forest will appreciate that! Also makes it REAL nice for home defense, since it's so small. :)

I really love the little buggers. I mean I love all my guns, but not necessarily equally. :)

July 3, 2012, 01:45 PM
No, its about as ugly as a mud fence, but I do think it is nice the way it is 100% ambi. I like the profile, just because it is so compact.

July 3, 2012, 02:02 PM
The chosen (designed) chambering isn't my favorite (though with the original FA design considerations it has proven to work quite well), but it is a very handy little rifle particularly in SBR form (the full-length bbl isn't that bad, but is unnecessarily long and limits versatility).


July 5, 2012, 01:53 AM
I have to say I was interested in either the PS90 or the AR-57. The amount of ammo that each has in a magazine is just awesome. I was hot for the 5.7x28. I was all geared up to buy a upper just a month ago at a local gun shop. That was until my friend who own's the shop steared me away from them. He explained that the ammo is quite expensive, and knowing that I reload told me that reloading for 5.7 can be dangerous and costly. He said the 5.7 has a special coating and reloading them isn't recomended and by warranty standards is forbiden. He also said if the firearm blows up in your hands not only will you probably be hurt but your gun won't be under warranty because it specifically states you can't use reloaded ammo.

He knows me well and my budget for fun. That is me. As for anyone else if you can spend the money on the ammo to feed it then sweet! Just take into consideration it will be one wallet sucking beast! I still want one but I just can't justify the ammo costs when I can buy and reload .223/5.56 for far less money. I say get what makes you happy.

July 5, 2012, 10:51 AM
Jaffa hate the... geez, I'm such a geek.

I had to laugh at this, especially since any reference to the P90 series immediately brings to mind a favorite nickname that a rather geeky friend of mine has for them: the "Abydos Typewriter..."

(for the non-geeks, Abydos is the name of the planet they travelled to in the Stargate movie)

July 5, 2012, 12:00 PM
Ammo for the 5.7x28 is pretty scarce right now. It's usually not too expensive though; wholesale costs are about $20 a box right now, so when it's in stock at stores it's around $22-25. I have 4k rounds on backorder here @20.74 per box;

Problem is, it's an election year again, and FNH reduced their manufacture of the round in their factories for the first 7 months of 2012. So until late July, ammo will be scarcer than snipe on a snipe hunt.

At ~41 cents a round, it's on par with brass reloadable .223.

So not sure where you're getting that it's a "wallet sucking beast"... sure, not cheap, but what in this sport isn't cheap?

You want a wallet sucking BEAST, we can go talk about 50 BMG in another thread. Costs me a small fortune to shoot my Barrett!

July 5, 2012, 02:12 PM
What loads are those?

The deepest penetrating load was about 10.0" into bare gel when brassfetcher did their tests.

I guess you didn't notice that Trent was talking about performance from the Carbine vs. your link showing handgun performance. 11.2" of barrel does make a difference you know.

July 5, 2012, 02:28 PM
I guess you didn't notice that Trent was talking about performance from the Carbine vs. your link showing handgun performance. 11.2" of barrel does make a difference you know.Brassfetcher used both a PS90 (equipped with a 16in. bbl) as well as a Five-seveN (4.8in. bbl); neither exceeded 10in. with the loads tested. BTW, the P90 uses a 10.4in. bbl.


July 5, 2012, 03:02 PM
Maverick; not entirely true...

Brassfetchers charts show FN-SS197 penetrated to 10.6" (calibrated) out of the FN Five Seven handgun. (BTW, that's plenty deep enough for my needs / desires on home defense given the accuracy of the carbine and the desire to LIMIT penetration for the sake of my kids/pets.) also has done more testing on EA's commercial ammo. The test they did with the FiveSeven HANDGUN were > 10" (blew out the back of the 10" blocks they were using - and that was *20%* ballistic gel, not *10%*. They have some really cool high-speed footage on their website and youtube showing the round hitting. I wouldn't want to get hit by one... :)

The FN factory ammo is downloaded considerably from the full power (e.g. law enforcement) loads. The decision to restrict muzzle energy was a conscious one by FNH to avoid having the platforms banned for being "armor piercing", since the full power loadings in a handgun will penetrate through body armor. (Those factory loadings should still penetrate through armor out of a carbine, I believe, but they come just shy of it out of the handgun.)

Although I personally don't like EA and won't buy their gimmicky reloaded ammo (guy is a frigging zealot, and if I'm shooting reloads *I* want to be in control of every step), independent tests on their ammo show it's generally between 12-14".

Plenty of handloads on can easily (and safely) equal their velocity.

July 5, 2012, 03:21 PM
Having said the above... I would like to re-iterate for the fourth or fifth time in this thread that the lack of penetration is the precise reason why I choose to keep it at the ready here. :)

Granted, there are other options in all common calibers - plenty of 9mm, 40, and 45 loads available that penetrate < 12".

But given the choice between handgun and rifle, if I'm going to bring a gun to a potential gunfight against an intruder, I'd rather have the rifle nearby. More stable, more accurate, et. None of my other rifles are nearly as compact or fast to get on target (my FS2000 comes close, but I'm not shooting 223 in my house, ever.)

The low-light sights really sealed the deal. When I had my old PS90 with the donut-of-death-crap optics, it sat in the cabinet. I MUCH prefer that 2nd gen PS90 sight over the tritium sights on my Glock 21 or even an Eotech (don't have to hit a button to turn them on or fiddle with brightness to turn them down...)

For the same reasons (penetration) when I travel and stay in hotels, I pack along the Five Seven. You *KNOW* any direction you shoot in a hotel, except perhaps out a window (which doesn't really fit with a defense purpose), will potentially have a person occupying that space. If I need to defend myself, I want enough to put a hole in an assailant but want to keep the chances of over penetration to a bare minimum.

Could pull of the same thing with 45ACP, I'm sure, as there are a lot of rounds (hydroshock comes to mind) that penetrate ~9" in ballistic gel, but the real world isn't a block of gelatin. Heavy 45 rounds carry with them inertia - they will retain more energy THROUGH objects than lighter rounds will.

So for indoor use, where you're worried about what might lie behind the wall, a lightweight high velocity round makes a heck of a lot of sense. Sure, 5.7 and every other bullet that has enough energy to fatally wound someone WILL go through a wall, but the lighter bullets will shed energy MUCH faster than heavier bullets.

Just my .02.

Didn't really expect to get quite THIS involved in a conversation about the cartridge, but I always enjoy a good debate. There's a lot of pros AND cons to any cartridge/firearm, it's really all up to the individual to decide what fits their desires and needs. :)

July 5, 2012, 08:47 PM
Maverick; not entirely true...

Brassfetchers charts show FN-SS197 penetrated to 10.6" (calibrated) out of the FN Five Seven handgun.You're absolutely right, missed that one.

While I'm not a big fan of the cartridge (just because it has limited utility, nothing less, nothing more) I don't doubt that it can get the job done, just trying to point out the data available (which unfortunately I misquoted). I'm still waiting for them to chamber the booger for the .30Carbine, now that's something that I can get behind! Either way, it's a carbine that is on my short list.


July 5, 2012, 08:54 PM
It can fill a very specific role. But it's a very narrow one, at that. :)

Earlier this year I was using it quite often to dispatch moles which were tearing up my garden. Would take the PS90 out with me when I'd garden. When I saw the ground move I'd go get my dog Kojak. I can point at the ground (He's a husky/german shepherd mix), say "DIG!", and he starts digging, following the tunnel with his nose. When I see the mole fly out with the dirt, I pull him off, grab the PS90, and execute a coup de grace.

Overkill perhaps, but fun, and gives me and my pup some daddy-doggie time together. :)

BTW, some anecdotal evidence... 45ACP 185 grain penetrates 10" in my soil in a nice skinny hole, slug can be recovered with a shovel; 5.7x28mm fragments and blows a 3" wide by 4" deep crater out, no pieces bigger than 2 grains can be found.. viscious little rounds. Predictably, not much left of the moles when I chuck them out in the woods.

Plus, it's quiet enough my neighbors don't complain.

July 6, 2012, 01:33 AM
the "Abydos Typewriter..."

:D Clever!

July 8, 2012, 02:28 AM
Shot one at the rnage one day, guy next to me was asking about my POF308 and I started asking about his PS90. We let each other shoot a magazine and I had a blast with the little 5.7. Zero recoil and pretty comfortable to shoot.

If I had some spare cash and was looking for a fun gun, it would be on the list!

Peter M. Eick
July 8, 2012, 11:27 AM
My shooting buddy has one and I keep thinking of buying one. Some day when the price is right I will grab it. Very nice compact design and easy to shoot well. I see it as a nice replacement for my M1carbine for the house. It would be just a lot more handy in hallways and the like.

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